Prior to my surgery I cut my hair shorter than normal. This is a normal high-stress response for me. The patch of hair they shaved out of the back of my head was huge and it took 8 weeks for the wound to close. This meant no getting my hair wet for two months. By the time I got the OK, my head was disgusting. we tried to keep it combed out but it was just gross from not being properly cleaned. I shaved off all of my remaining hair and my stepdad cleaned up the areas I had missed. I had never felt so naked and exposed to the world and with a giant scar! I often wore a headscarf (which drew a lot of looks from people, like, why is that a problem?!) and I bought a wig and got it cut and dyed to match my hair before the diagnosis. Now, two years later, my hair is actually blue again (it wasn’t for maybe a year) and it is long enough to put into a reasonably-sized ponytail and that just brightens my day! Even my friends have commented on my long-lost pony reemerging after spending so long on hiatus. It’s just nice to feel like my old self in some way.
“I can’t believe it’s been a whole year! I just got a promotion, what have you been doing?” “Surviving!”
The world at large does not have a thorough understanding of recovering from brain surgery. While their lives breeze by marked by accomplishments and milestones, my days are monotonous and almost indistinguishable from one another. My memory started fading over a year ago, and I only have vague recollections of what has been going on in my life. I have not achieved anything, and it makes for very awkward conversations.
Even though I am aware of the cause of most of my headaches, I still go through a series of actions that under normal circumstances would alleviate a headache. Coffee is my go-to headache reliever. Before the accident, if my head hurt, it was usually because I missed my cup of morning coffee. I always remain hopeful that the coffee will help, but it never does. Then, food. I would get so busy with work and school that I wouldn’t have time to eat which resulted in headaches. Finally, naps are my last refuge. At the very least, hoping that when I wake up I will feel better, but I usually don’t. It often feels like something is exploding in the back of my head, and I just have to deal with it.